Sunday, January 2, 2011

Verbum Hodiernum: VESPER

Today's word is the noun VESPER, which means the evening; vespere means in the evening. There is also an adverbial form, vesperi. Although this is a third-declension noun, you can find vesperum sometimes used as the accusative form. In addition to this third-declension noun form, you can also find a first-declension noun form - vespera - used to mean the same thing.

Because the sun sets in the west, vesper can also be used to refer to the west. The Latin word is cognate with the Greek word you can see in the mythological Hesperides, the "daughters of the evening," who are nymphs that live in a beautiful garden at the western edge of the world.

In English, we get the word "vespers" from this Latin word, referring to the "even-song" of the church. As a big fan of James Bond movies in general, and of Daniel Craig in particular, I also feel obliged to mention here the Bond heroine of Casino Royale, Vesper Lynd, who also gives her name to a cocktail called the "Vesper" - the recipe and history of the drink are at Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, here are some Latin sayings and phrases that use today's word:

A mane ad vesperum.

Vespere laudatur dies.

Laus in fine canitur et vespere laudatur dies.

Gaudebis semper vespere, si diem expendas fructuose.

Mane semina semen tuum, et vespere ne cesset manus tua.

Vespere flet crebro qui risit mane sereno.

Mane aliqui rident, qui facto vespere lugent.

Non omnes qui mane micant sub vespere lucent.

Mane petas montes, medio nemus, vespere fontes.

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